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The Program Officer for Early Childhood

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation is a private, charitable foundation established as an independent entity by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina in 2000. Over the past two decades, the organization has worked with – and supported – nonprofit organizations, government entities, and community partnerships across the state, investing $210 million into North Carolina through more than 1,300 grants, collaborations, and special initiatives. Within its focus areas of early childhood, access to care, healthy communities, healthy food, and oral health, the Foundation
strives to address the key drivers of health, taking a flexible approach designed to meet identified needs in partnership with the community.

In 2020, the Foundation established its focus on Early Childhood, which today centers on improving early care and education in North Carolina so that every child has the opportunity and resources to be healthy and well-prepared for success in school, work, and life.

Program Officers are integral to carrying out the Foundation's approach to:

  • Advance system changes to address barriers to good health at the root-cause level
  • Amplify community voice; in this case, elevating the experience and wisdom of, and accountability to, children, families, and providers to improve access to quality early care and education
  • Advance health equity, working to ensure everyone – regardless of race or ethnicity, geography, age, financial situation, or education level – has the opportunity to be as healthy as possible

The Program Officer for Early Childhood will develop, implement, learn from, and refine the
Foundation's strategies and identify, engage, and support grantees and other partners. These approaches will work in unison to cultivate policy change and system transformation aimed at making early care and education more accessible, affordable, and high quality, ultimately meeting the needs of the state's diverse population of children and families.

Job description:
Specific Responsibilities

Develop, Implement, and Refine Strategy for Impact
  • Build relationships with potential grant applicants, advocates, organizational and institutional leaders, state government representatives, funders, and other stakeholders to support the Foundation's goals while leveraging emerging trends and opportunities for partnership.
  • Design and implement program strategies consistent with the Foundation's objectives to scale what works and contribute to population-level health changes.
  • Develop learning and feedback loops to generate awareness and recommend changes to strategy.
  • Participate in meetings and site visits around the state and nationally to represent the Foundation, stay current on new developments in the field, and bring back insights to refine process, programming, and strategy.
  • Develop and implement meaningful and reflective touchpoints (e.g., convenings and meetings with internal and external stakeholders to support peer-to-peer connections, learning, and alignment building) and contribute to ongoing emergent strategy.
Support Grantees as a Thought Partner and Advocate
  • Engage directly with grantees – individually and in cohorts – to support their work through capacity building, connections to resources, and facilitating introductions to support their goals.
  • Support and develop a dynamic portfolio of grants, contracts, and consultant relationships, including many vendor and consultant engagements supporting the Foundation's strategies and grantee experience and impact. Provide end-to-end management, including needs assessment, scoping, developing RFPs, contracting, and monitoring.
  • Work with potential grant applicants to support the development of strong and strategically aligned grant proposals. Represent funding proposals throughout staff and board review processes.
  • Create feedback loops to ensure learnings and grantee perspectives inform emergent strategy.
Contribute to the Team, Organization, and Field of Philanthropy
  • Work collaboratively on a team; contribute to developing practices and processes to maximize learning and disseminate knowledge to create impact more broadly or at scale.
  • Lead with influence externally and internally, including mentoring other staff, creating space for all to participate in learning and relationship building, and providing oversight to contractors or others as assigned.
  • Document and share (through presentations and publications) grantee activities for learning, influence, and field-building.
  • Contribute to a culture of continuous improvement to enhance grantee experience and increase impact.
  • Fully bilingual program officers will serve as a resource and partner to other staff in developing and implementing practices to improve the applicant and grantee experience for organizations that prefer to work in Spanish.
Education: A bachelo's degree or equivalent combination of education and transferable experience.
  • Eight-plus years of experience working in the nonprofit sector, philanthropy, or systems of early childhood with demonstrated impact (ten-plus years instead of degree)
  • Knowledge of or experience working within systems related to early care and education – with an interest in developing emerging areas of expertise as needed
  • Experience in advocacy, coalition building, leadership development, or communications
Preferred expertise:
  • Practical understanding of the political, social, and economic landscape in which the Foundation and its Early Childhood grantees operate
  • Bilingual in English and Spanish
  • Willingness to reside and work in North Carolina
  • Ability to travel inside North Carolina; as much as 20 percent in-state (primarily day trips/site visits) and outside of North Carolina as needed for field-related convenings or events
The ideal candidate will be a leader who will thrive in and contribute to a collaborative environment, working cross-functionally with a diverse network of grantees, institutions, professional organizations, internal teammates, and other partners to develop, implement, learn from, and refine the Foundation's Early Childhood strategies to transform the early care and education system in North Carolina so that it meets the needs of all children and families.
They will have:
  • Ability to operate independently and be self-driven
  • A commitment to systems change grounded by a connection to community
  • Ability to think rigorously and analytically about advanced program outcomes and policy issues
  • Excellent writing and verbal presentation skills, with the ability to synthesize and translate information and content and communicate effectively with different audiences
  • An ability to engage, build relationships, and interact constructively with diverse constituents to advance an agenda
  • Strong strategic, project management, and analytical skills combined with high organization and attention to detail
  • Emotional intelligence, intellectual curiosity, maturity, creative problem-solving ability, and sound judgment
The successful candidate will have or be:
Alignment with the Foundation's Values and Approach
  • Personal commitment to improving health for everyone in North Carolina
  • Desire to work as part of a team, with the ability to thrive independently
  • Approach the work with a focus on building and strengthening relationships
  • Sense of humor
  • Effective communicator, customer service oriented, and ability to think and act simultaneously at a macro and tactical level
Growth Mindset
  • Passion for continuous improvement, learning, and growth
  • Comfort with ambiguity
  • Open to new ideas, with an ability to innovate and take risks in pursuit of high-impact solutions
  • Willingness to embrace and work through challenges
  • Adaptable and flexible; able to shift and prioritize
  • Possess an “all-hands-on-deck” spirit
Inclusive and Team Oriented
  • Committed to supporting the success of the team, grantees, and other external partners and willing to provide mentorship in areas of expertise
  • Highly collaborative with deep listening skills and an asset-based approach; a champion for inclusion and collaboration
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with a proven ability to influence, engage, coach, and mentor other staff
  • Ability to establish and maintain trust with diverse partners – staff, board, and community
  • Ability to influence outcomes and provide feedback positively and constructively without a direct supervisory relationship
A competitive compensation and benefits package will be offered commensurate with experience. As an employer, Blue Cross NC welcomes people to flourish in an open and inclusive work environment. Foundation staff are employees of Blue Cross NC, which operates under a “Hybrid Flex” policy with a balance of work from home, work-related travel (meetings, site visits, conferences), and time at the Foundation's Durham location.

To apply or for additional information about the opportunity, please contact:
Hybrid, Durham, North Carolina
Lisa Fisher at

Current Openings

Hopestar Foundation|Non-Profit|Charlotte, NC|Nov 30, 2023
The Winston-Salem Foundation|Non-Profit|Winston-Salem, NC|Nov 30, 2023
The Duke Endowment|Non-Profit|Charlotte, North Carolina|Nov 28, 2023
Camber Foundation|Non-Profit|Remote (Eastern NC Residence Required) |Oct 23, 2023
Resourceful Communities (Project of The Conservation Fund)|Non-Profit|Chapel Hill, North Carolina|Oct 17, 2023
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation|Non-Profit|Hybrid, Durham, North Carolina|Oct 17, 2023
Triangle Community Foundation|Non-Profit|Hybrid: In-office is in RTP|Oct 17, 2023
Dogwood Health Trust|Non-Profit|Asheville, North Carolina|Sep 28, 2023
Healthcare Foundation of Wilson|Non-Profit|Wilson, NC|Sep 13, 2023
Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation|Non-Profit|Winston-Salem, NC|Sep 12, 2023
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